Armadillos are barrel-shaped animals covered with natural armor. In fact, its name in Spanish means “little armored one.” An armadillo’s armor is made up of overlapping plates covering the back, head, legs and tail. There are several species of armadillos but the main species found in the United States is the Nine-banded armadillo or the Long-nosed armadillo. Armadillos dig dens or burrows under houses, porches, at the base of trees, under walkways, driveways and other structures that range from 1 to 10 ft deep and up to 25 ft long. These armadillo dens can weaken any of these structures and cause major damage. Armadillos feed on ants, termites and other small invertebrates like grubs.They will dig or root shallow holes in the ground about 1-3 inches deep and 3-6 inches wide to locate their food. This rooting occurs in lawns, flowerbeds, gardens, golf courses and in farmer’s fields.
Q: Why do armadillos dig holes under my home?
A: Armadillos dig holes in the ground called burrows or dens. These armadillo burrows are used as a shelter and can be up to 15 ft deep and 15 ft long.
Q: I found more than one armadillo den in my yard. Does that mean there is more than one armadillo?
A: Not exactly. Armadillos can dig up to 15 dens or more and use them randomly.
Q: Why should I remove an armadillo?
A: Armadillos can be very destructive. The holes they dig in your grass to find their food can destroy a yard in very little time. The holes they dig under your home and can weaken the structure. Bushes, sidewalks and sheds can cave in from an armadillo den.
Q: Do armadillos carry diseases?
A: Armadillos have been known to carry the bacterium that causes leprosy. The only incidences that armadillos have transmitted the disease to humans have been from eating the under cooked meat of an armadillo. If your dog likes to hunt armadillos then strongly discourage this.
Q: I’ve seen baby armadillos run through my yard. How many baby armadillos can there be?
A: An armadillo can have up to 8 young.
Q: If I bury the armadillo den will the armadillo die?
A: Probably not. The armadillo is designed for digging. It will dig its way out of the hole or make a new tunnel to escape. It is best to trap the armadillo and then bury the den.
Q: Do armadillos really jump?
A: Yes. They can jump up to 3 feet when they are startled. This is one of the main reasons armadillos are very known for being road kill. When armadillos see the headlights they jump to the height of a vehicle’s bumper.
Q: An armadillo died under my house. If I leave it there will the smell go away?
A: Depending on the season it could take a very long time for the smell of any dead animal to go away. In the summer a dead animal can smell very strong for a few weeks and then start to get better. In the winter the smell might not be as bad but could last for months. In either case it is important to get the dead animal removed professionally.